Do you remember when ‘Please allow 28 days for delivery’ was standard practice when you ordered something through the post? Now most businesses will say they will have it with you within 28 hours – next day delivery is the norm.
Supply chains are shrinking, customer expectations are rising and connectivity is everything.
I’m in my fifth decade. I think that’s pretty spritely but I’ve seen a lot of change in my lifetime. And the pace at which e-commerce has driven a seismic shift through the logistics and distribution sector is phenomenal.
Change and the speed of change can be unsettling. ‘Uncertainty’ and the B-word are also all around. It’s fair to say a lot of people are feeling a bit jittery.
But I don’t see it that way. The fundamentals of trade – and the infrastructure that needs to support trade – are the same as they have always been. Connect the product to the person who wants it and do that as quickly, safely, and reliably as possible.
Cut through the noise about stockpiling, the M20 becoming a car park and, stone the crows, Dover having strategic importance to cross-channel freight, and we are essentially dealing with the same thing we have always been, namely connectivity.
If we can service the industry with the best-connected facilities, we can build a strong future. By bringing forward the right logistics and distribution space, we can enable business and equip occupiers to thrive.
Scale that up, and the benefits become even greater. By which I mean we, as investors and developers of logistics buildings and facilities, can and should be thinking not just about connecting into local, regional and national networks but about global supply chains and global interconnectivity.
Post 29 March – whatever the outcome and the detail of the deal/no deal – the UK needs to be business ready. Getting business ready involves a great number of things of course but, within that, I’d like to see a mindset in Government which is about enabling investment, making things happen, and pressing the button on projects and initiatives which are going to be good for the economy now and more valuable yet in the decades to come.
We are working on one such project – Rail Central in Northamptonshire. A strategic logistics hub in the centre of the UK at the nexus of road and rail. Where the West Coast Main Line and Northampton Loop Line intersect next to the M1 and the A43. Arguably the best connected location for next generation logistics development that’s coming forward.
Uncertainty may very well be all around but consistency is too. Investing into logistics infrastructure is consistently effective at delivering dividends to the economy and UK plc.
Action now will reap its rewards. 28 days seemed an age to wait when you placed your order back in the day. I don’t want to be waiting in the slow lane while other countries and economies build the business-supporting infrastructure to attract globally mobile business and service their needs.
The UK needs to invest in its logistics future. And now would be an extremely good time.